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News Busters
Newsbusters
1 Jul 2023
Alex Christy


NextImg:ABC Diminishes First Amendment After Court Upholds Religious Liberty

Laws are supposed to conform to the Constitution, but the Saturday edition of ABC’s Good Morning America thought the relationship was reversed as it described the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the First Amendment, free speech, and religious liberty as a carve out of anti-discrimination law.

Host Erielle Reshef began with a vague warning, “We turn now to the other major decision from the Supreme Court. A case involving LGBTQ rights, but the implications could be much broader than that.”

Reshef reported on the outcome of the case before tossing the segment to reporter Devin Dwyer at the Court, “The justices ruling by a 6-to-3 margin that a Christian web designer who opposes same-sex marriage can refuse to create a wedding website for same-sex couples because it would violate her free speech.”

For his part, Dwyer also began with vague warnings about the future, while also lamenting, “That decision a big disappointment to the LGBTQ community coming in the last day of Pride Month, but its impact as you say will be much more far reaching. The Court’s conservative majority essentially carved out an exception to anti-discrimination laws saying businesses that sell customized products that express a message like a website or piece of art can refuse any customer whose message they oppose.”

The First Amendment is not a carve out. Regardless, Dwyer proceeded to sum up the opinion and dissents, but gave the dissent a more forceful recap, “Justice Neil Gorsuch cast this decision as the defense of free speech, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor warned in dissent it could open the door to more discrimination potentially against interracial couples, disabled people, members of different faiths.”

Dwyer never cared to explain what a website for a wedding has to do with disabled people or the differences between art and places of accommodation. However, he did finally acknowledge that the case was about art, “Legal experts on both sides of this case tell me they believe the decision will have a limited practical impact at least for now because few businesses actually engage in selling customized artworks.”

Still, he still warned, “but, Erielle, make no mistake, this case is being seen as an invitation for more businesses to test the boundaries of anti-discrimination law.”

Anti-discrimination law can not just a fig leaf for compelled speech and the First Amendment is not subordinate to Pride Month.

This segment was sponsored by CarMax.

Here is a transcript for the July 1 show:

ABC Good Morning America

7/1/2023

7:10 AM ET

ERIELLE RESHEF: We turn now to the other major decision from the Supreme Court. A case involving LGBTQ rights, but the implications could be much broader than that. The justices ruling by a 6-to-3 margin that a Christian web designer who opposes same-sex marriage can refuse to create a wedding website for same-sex couples because it would violate her free speech. ABC's Devin Dwyer is at the Court following all of this. Good morning to you, Devin. 

DEVIN DWYER: Hey, good morning, Erielle. That decision a big disappointment to the LGBTQ community coming in the last day of Pride Month, but its impact as you say will be much more far reaching. The Court’s conservative majority essentially carved out an exception to anti-discrimination laws saying businesses that sell customized products that express a message like a website or piece of art can refuse any customer whose message they oppose.

Justice Neil Gorsuch cast this decision as the defense of free speech, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor warned in dissent it could open the door to more discrimination potentially against interracial couples, disabled people, members of different faiths. 

Legal experts on both sides of this case tell me they believe the decision will have a limited practical impact at least for now because few businesses actually engage in selling customized artworks but, Erielle, make no mistake, this case is being seen as an invitation for more businesses to test the boundaries of anti-discrimination law.